NJ police officer guilty of manslaughter after car chase shooting kills man, wounds another
NEWARK — A city police officer has been found guilty of charges stemming from shots fired during a wild car chase, which left one man dead and a second wounded.
Jovanny Crespo, of the Newark Police Department, has been suspended without pay since being indicted for the deadly 2019 incident.
On Wednesday, the 30-year-old Crespo was convicted by an Essex County jury of two counts each of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree aggravated assault and second-degree official misconduct.
The trial lasted ten weeks, followed by four days of deliberations.
On Jan.28, 2019, Crespo fired his gun at a fleeing vehicle after the driver, Gregory Griffin, sped away from a traffic stop.
During a miles-long chase through the streets of Newark, Crespo shot repeatedly at the car, ultimately killing the 46-year-old Griffin and critically hurting his passenger, Andrew Dixon.
The events were caught on body cameras worn by both Crespo and another officer, who first attempted a traffic stop after seeing a handgun in the car.
Shortly after his indictment in May 2019, Crespo received legal support from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, which pointed to the dangers posed by the car being pursued.
"Found within the car was heroin destined for the streets of Newark and a handgun loaded with illegal hollow-point bullets," according to the LELDF.
🔵 Essex County Prosecutors: No one is above the law
After his guilty verdict, Crespo was remanded to Essex County Jail, as the judge deemed him a flight risk, according to CBS New York.
When sentenced on Sept. 15, Crespo faces up to 30 years in prison.
“It is a difficult day when anyone in law enforcement is convicted of a crime, but no one is above the law,” according to a written release from the prosecutor’s office.
“Just as the vast majority of the public conducts themselves in a law-abiding manner, this verdict must not be a reflection on the tremendous work performed by law enforcement on a daily basis,” Acting Prosecutor Stephens added.